Anglican Laity, Clergy and Bishops March for Life

“I am honored to stand, along with my fellow bishops of the Anglican Church in North America, in recognition of the millions lost through abortion and to demonstrate our commitment to uphold the sanctity of life for all of God’s children,” said Archbishop Robert Duncan.

Speaking to a reporter during the event, Bishop John Guernsey who issued the invitation to his brother bishops, noted: “The active participation in the March for Life of more than a third of our bishops is a very public demonstration that a commitment to life is at the core of who we are as Anglican Christians.”  This commitment is reflected in the founding documents (Constitution and Canons) of the province:

image“God, and not man, is the creator of human life. The unjustified taking of life is sinful.  Therefore, all members and clergy are called to promote and respect the sanctity of every human life from conception to natural death.” (Constitution and Canons, Title II, Canon 8, Section 3)

Anglicans for Life, under the leadership of Georgette Forney, also played a key role in the event. Mrs. Forney organized testimonies from individuals representing the Silent No More Campaign, which helps women and men who have experienced abortion “to find healing, forgiveness and reconciliation through the love of Christ.”

The March for Life was founded in 1974 by Nellie Gray, who died last year at the age of 86, and has been held annually for the last 39 years. 

Read a Living Church Magazine article on the March: http://www.livingchurch.org/acna-bishops-join-march

PHOTO 1: Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America during the March for Life on January 25, 2013
PHOTO 2: Bishop John Guernsey speaks during the ecumenical worship service.

Leadership Spotlight: A Church for the City – Partnering to Break Cultural Barriers

This diversity begins with two young men who are partnering to lead St. Paul’s. Ordained to the priesthood on January 5, the Reverends Cameron Lemons and Jamal Scarlett represent respectively a White Irish background and African American heritage with Spanish Caribbean roots.  The two also combine Pentecostal and Evangelical worship traditions and share a deep desire to serve for the sake of others.

Both Cameron and Jamal are from California. Cameron, who grew up in Temecula Valley, was unchurched but came to faith while in high school.  He first experienced a call to ordained ministry while in school at Westmont College where he also met his future wife, Jenelle.  Subsequently, he attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts where he was drawn to Anglicanism.

“I loved the spirituality of the Anglican church and the way in which the tradition holds in tension Pentecostal and evangelical threads – both were part of my background,” explains Cameron.  “I came to the Lord in a Pentecostal tradition but also worshipped in Presbyterian and Congregationalist settings.” 

After graduating and moving back to California, the Lemons affiliated with a large, predominantly African American Baptist Church and were drawn to both cross-cultural ministry as well as church planting.  They moved to an under-resourced area and began a discipleship house.  Later, he crossed paths with Jamal Scarlett.

Growing up in San Diego until he was 13, Jamal’s family attended church, but had no sense of having a personal faith. He heard the Gospel message in a powerful way at a youth convention, walked away for a time and re-embraced his faith in 2000 at a funeral service of a friend.  He married his wife Janice three years later and was discipled at Mountain View Community Church where he attended for five years.

“I was nurtured, grew in the faith and devoured the Word,” says Jamal. 

He too felt a call to ministry and entered Fuller Theological Seminary in the Fall of 2005. “I was really captured essentially by church history and the understanding that there was a church before the Reformation.  This reality summoned me to see what the larger Church was all about.  I saw the fullness of these ancient roots expressed in the beauty of the Liturgy and the centrality of the Word and Sacrament, but it wasn’t until 2010 that I really sensed a need to become part of a community with ancient roots.”

Jamal contacted Cameron and the two discovered their mutual love of the Anglican tradition as well as a commitment to cross multi-cultural and multi–ethnic lines.  With the help of Bishop Bill Thompson and MDP Chairman Fr. Jose Poch, the two young leaders were connected with and mentored by Fr. Donald Kroeger, Fr. Brian Capanna, and other clergy from the San Diego Anglicans.

Ultimately, Cameron and Jamal joined forces.  St. Paul’s was planted as a multi-ethnic evangelical church with an appreciation for church history.  For the past two years it has grown as a grassroots effort, ministering to the community’s tangible and practical needs in the Southwest Riverside County Area. 

Following Cameron and Jamal’s ordination, the church was re-launched on January 6 as an Anglican congregation.  The ordination service itself represented the vision for St. Paul’s as well as the worship backgrounds of the pastors.

“I consider myself from the catholic evangelical side of things, while Cameron is more evangelical charismatic,” Jamal says.  “It has been really good for us over the last year to work on a church plant. It has more of a ‘broad church’ feel with cassocks and stoles but also with a blend of music—hymns, contemporary and old gospel spirituals.  We talk seriously about the Word of God, the impact of preaching and discipleship, and the significance of the Sacraments.”

“As we planned the ordination service, we desired to have worship that reflects the infinite diversity of church,” explains Cameron. In addition to traditional chanting of the Psalm, St. Paul’s invited an African American Gospel choir to open worship.

imageThe Venerable Canon Dr. Jack Lumanog, Canon to the Archbishop, Anglican Church in North America, preached at the service.

“The service was more than just a celebration of new ministry—it was also what can best be described as an ‘Anglican revival meeting’ as the service was held at an Assembly of God church (the denomination I served as District Evangelist for the State of Iowa as well as a Pastor prior to my journey back to the historic Christian Church as a deacon and then later as a priest) and punctuated by music from the African American Pentecostal tradition,” Canon Jack describes.

“The sermon was met with moments of applause, loud shouts of ‘amens!’ and ‘hallelujahs!’ as we had so many guests from Cameron and Jamal’s former churches with us to celebrate their ordination.  Even some of our Anglican brothers and sisters were moved by the Holy Spirit’s presence among us and remarked that this was unlike any ordination they had been to before – that they recognize that this was the future of the Anglican Church in North America, and they are so excited to see it unfolding before our very eyes!”

St. Paul’s faces some challenges.  Those coming to faith do not necessarily have the ability to financially support the congregation, and some of the new members do not understand the concept of weekly, regular worship and showing up in the same place at the same time.

“As we transition to having a more distinct Anglican identity in the community, we are intentionally seeking to build bridges between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots,’” Cameron notes.  “We want to establish a DNA of being socially conscious. The church name is significant – we really do want to be a church for the city.”

In order to make that dream a reality, St. Paul’s is hosting a Theology on Tap series in January and February at a local pub.  The evenings will feature “good spirits” and a talk on “God and Work.” 

“We are also offering a mid-week healing prayer service so we can expose people to a more charismatic form of Anglican spirituality,” Cameron says.  “We are reaching out in numerous practical ways to the under-resourced in our community.  In addition, we place a strong emphasis on the arts and are exploring things like utilizing poetry, special arts nights and music in our worship space. Locals are intrigued by what the Lord is doing in our midst.”

Jamal notes: “St. Paul’s will have a different feel.  You will see African Americans, Asians, Whites, young and old.  We have 35-40s as well as some more seasoned saints. It’s definitely a church that lives into the tradition it has been given, but speaks into the culture in which it stands.”

Real partnership marks Cameron and Jamal’s approach to ministry.  They have big hearts for the Lord and for each other.

“We are committed to the picture and call God has given us,” Cameron said.  We want to stay the course and are blessed to partner in mission.”

Jamal agrees. “I think time has really helped us,” he says.  “We started this journey two years ago as youth ministers in two churches.  Initially when you think about planting a church, you think about you and how you want to do it. But we made the transition from this being ‘Jamal’s show’ or ‘Cameron’s show.’  We are continually learning to take ‘self’ out of the equation—it’s God’s thing and He’s doing it, not us.”

PHOTO 1: The Lemons Family (left) with The Scarlett Family (right)
PHOTO 2: (left to right) The Rev. Cameron Lemons, The Ven. Canon Dr. Jack Lumanog, The Rev. Jamal Scarlett

Theological Task Force on Holy Orders begins Phase 2

The College of Bishops for the Anglican Church in North America met January 7 – 11 in Orlando, FL to examine the ways in which they may continue working together in the unity of Christ while honoring the diversity of the dioceses.

During their time together, the College approved a Method of Procedure for the Theological Task Force on Holy Orders.  As originally reported in the communique from the College of Bishops, the Method of Procedures includes the following steps:

  • Phase 1 of this five-phase procedure was to identify and appoint bishops and other scholars to the Task Force. This is now complete. At each subsequent phase, there will a report to and dialogue with the full College of Bishops.
  • Phase 2 now begins. The Task Force will explore how the Authority of Scripture functions in the Church, addressing hermeneutical issues and the role of the Church’s Tradition in biblical interpretation.
  • Phase 3 will explore the nature of the Church, clarifying the meaning of ordained Ministry and considering how the structure of the Church’s ordained Ministry relates to the whole.
  • In Phase 4 the Task Force will discuss the arguments, pro and con, related to the ordination of women, considering the relevant Scriptural texts and historical arguments, and reviewing studies conducted within and without the Anglican tradition.
  • In Phase 5 the Task Force will submit a report to the GAFCON/FCA International Theological Commission (ITC).
  • Following a review of comments received from GAFCON/FCA, the ITC and the ecumenical partners of the ACNA, the final report and recommendations of the Task Force will be submitted to the College of Bishops.

Subsequent to the approval of this Method of Procedures, members of the Theological Task Force on Holy Orders met for the first time on 17 January via conference call.  During the call, they began to discuss the focus of Phase 2 by identifying important questions regarding the interpretation of Holy Scripture.

Leading the Task Force is the Rt. Rev. David Hicks, REC Diocese of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

“The Task Force members are deeply mindful of the great privilege and responsibility that they have in assisting the College of Bishops in this very important discussion,” said Bishop Hicks.

The members of the Task Force are the Rt. Rev. Kevin Allen, Diocese of Cascadia; Mrs. Katherine Atwood, Diocese of Ft. Worth; The Rev. Dr. Leslie Fairfield, Diocese in New England, Trinity Seminary (Ret.); The Rev. Canon Mary Hays, Diocese of Pittsburgh; The Rev. Tobias Karlowicz, Diocese of Quincy; and The Rt. Rev. Eric Menees, Diocese of San Joaquin.

Bishop Hicks requested the prayers of the Province in support of their work, “Please pray for God’s wisdom and guidance as we pursue our work and for safe travel when we gather together in the coming months.”